The trials and tribulations of upgrading a PC
Yesterday, which is technically today (because I’m setting the post date for yesterday), I found myself rebuilding my PC. I was looking to resolve the frequency problem I’ve been having. I’ve built quite a few PCs now and I’ve never had a really bad experience doing it. I highly recommend it to others for the satisfaction of playing a part in your hardwares life. But last night was just a travesty. I’m returning nearly everything I purchased. I suppose we’ll go over all the issues I had and leave it at that.
Firstly I purchased a Z97 GAMING 5 motherboard, the reviews were promising and I had high hopes. I was going to use water cooling with it for fun so I looked for a cooler that supports 1150 chipsets (as that is what this board is). I bought the Corsair Hydro Series Extreme H100i and tried to install it. There is no configuration known to man that will get this thing to fit into the system. The holes just don’t lineup. I used a bracket I have from a much better heatsink manufacturer (apparently) that actually can be adjusted to fit all sizes of mobos.
Next we moved onto the PCI spots. These are put in such a position that if you attached a card to them like say, the Sound Blaster Z PCIe you have two options. Either you have it fit (and read) and be diagonal to the back of your case, OR you make it flush with your case and it can no longer be read by the motherboard. Regardless of which you choose the software on the Sound Blaster Z will never pickup the card for more than a single boot. There are a long list of tips for how to fix it but frankly no, I’m returning it.
My graphics card fit and worked, thankfully, but two of the ram ports were bad. All four sticks of my ram are good and they all work in any configuration in the latter two slots. They are all identical and completely clean of any debris. So I now had a motherboard that didn’t properly fit the heatsink, didn’t fit the PCIE cards, and couldn’t take half my ram. Well…alright then.
Finally I booted it up and tested the audio with the onboard. From the back I do hear silence but from the front and from my keyboard port I still heard the buzz. A feeling of deep dread came over me that still haunts me. In my smaller backup PC I hear no noise which got me wondering if it is the case itself. Regardless I felt terrible. Immediate buyers remorse combined with what looks to be 5 different returns now to Amazon. I’m switching to this ASUS MAXIMUS VII FORMULA motherboard instead and it’ll be in on Saturday. Never once in my life has ASUS failed me and I’m hoping this remains true.
Ultimately my next build of this PC is going to not be fun. I’ve been broken a bit by this experience and it has tainted all my feelings for the last day. I was already kind of teetering around emotionally and that was just not great. I don’t recommend anything I listed above for one reason or another. Here’s hoping that my next experience this weekend is a relaxing one rather than an exercise in frustration.